Kas, A Hike Above on May 13

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Turkish Aegean Coast,
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This entry is being posted from (and the map shows) Muğla. But the story is of a hike I made above Kaş, where I had stopped in after a break in my planned itinerary in order to go to Ankara to receive from the States a new ATM card as the one I had was about to expire.

The replacement card did not make it through the mail, and I had a delay in arranging for a second card to be sent by commercial carrier. Then, as I was about to leave Ankara with my new ATM card, my Ankara host fell and broke her leg. So I stayed on for some additional days attending to her. But then I had to leave Ankara because my 90-day tourist visa was about to expire. The Greek island of Megisti was off the southern Turkish coast, and on one route to return to Muğla. After a visa run to Megisti on the first day in Kaş, I went for a hike above Kaş the next day.

The Hike

On the  return from Megisti, looking up at that ridge above Kas . . . well, it was just an irresistible objective to me. What a view it would be from up there! Furthermore, there looked to be a line straight up cleared of shrubbery almost the whole way!

In the early morning, when I left the pension the  ladies were baking bread just outside my bedside window.

I didn't locate the bare rock line I sought. I ended up bushwhacking through a lot of scrub. Anything green in the landscape in this part of the world, if it  is not  a pine tree, is probably a thorn bush. Even the ones with the pretty yellow flowers that look from a distance like Scotch Broom.

An irony was--well, two, actually--I began the hike/climb at the base where there was a sign indicating the beginning of a segment of the Lycian Way (http://www.lycianway.com/index.html). I hiked up the trail a short way to a point that, marked by a power line pylon, I thought was at the base of the "cleared" up slope line. I thought the Lycian Way, itself, would continue in an east direction, for on a previous visit to Kas I had hiked the segment east of Kas. I didn't realize that I was actually at the segment end of the trail coming to Kas from the west.

As a consequence, I bushwhacked through the loose rock and thorn bushes, only to rejoin the trail near the top. I thought that was ironic.

The other irony was that I had bought the Lycian Way guide book the day before but hadn't gotten around to check out the local details.

Still, the climb up, other than  the pesky thorn bushes, was not so tough. There were pretty butterflies and a cave to see on the way. The butterflies had a beautiful, lilting flight rhythm to them. And from the mouth of the cave the sight was most appealing. I didn't notice until viewing my pictures that there was the image of a man's profile to be discerned in the rocks at the upper right. See, forehead, brows, eyelid, eyeball, nose, lips and (bearded?) chin. He seems to be enjoying the view over the sea, across to the Greek island of Megisti where I had gone the day before in order to return to Turkey for a fresh visitors visa.

After I got to the top I was soon joined by a lanky Brit, who checked his watch and assured the two of us that the elevation climbed in the time span he spent doing it was quite fine. We chatted for a spell, then he headed back down, while I continued on, now tracing the Lycian way  in the westerly direction, angling from the lower left of the ridgeline (about where  the slope starts up, top center) and across the flat plateau (the reddish area).

Well, actually, in a northern direction. When it didn't turn to west, as I was hoping, I left it and headed up slope again, wanting to get back to the ridge line above Kas.

The initial scenery was quite fine, looking back down to the sea and goat herds in the valley. But the landscape was brutal. I was climbing and walking in weathered  limestone and thorn bushes. Cross country, no trail. Well, except every now and again there would seem to be a slight goat path. Then that would disappear.

This exposed weathered limestone is a wicked substance. You dare not fall or trip. To do so would be to puncture or tear your flesh to shreds. In fact, I had the notion that the myth of Marsayas had arisen from the fact of someone falling on such rocks. And, on my mind was a recent news piece of a woman who had a facial transplant. You can't  really use your hands, for balance as the rocks are too sharp to touch with any force, and the growing things all have incredibly sharp spines.

So, after a while it didn't become so much fun. I just wanted to get out of that environment. But, that's what I do, sometimes getting myself into these situations. I just had to head out across this landscape, trying to get back to the ridge.

Eventually I got back over to the ridge line. Same rocks and bushes, though. Curiously enough, where I happened to pause to rest and enjoy the view, there was scratched into a hard white lichen (I think) the initials and date of a previous visitor to that one particular rock!

Finally in sight of a dirt road I found my way to it, expecting it to lead me back down to the coast. But to my amazement, after the road went over the lip of the crest, it just fanned out in a short scree. It didn't go anywhere. Some debris, I guess, from a near-by concrete materials quarry and manufacturing site.

I had no alternative but to bushwhack back down the steep slope, how far I knew not as there was a plateau area just below that obscured sight further down.

This is where I really had to take it easy. For, now into the later afternoon, I was tired and hungry. And, the sun was, while not close to the horizon, going down. I couldn't tell how much of this I would have to go through. Now it was the limestone rock, thorn bushes, and pine forest. On a steep slope.

My internal dialogue was starting to rehearse the directions to my approximate location that I might try to communicate (in English) to any search and rescue unit that I might be able to rouse through my cellphone. This would first entail calling my friend in Ankara, and trying getting something going through that communications route.

Well, it never became necessary.

After getting to the lip of the mid-level plateau I could see a paved road. It was the real road up from Kas to the concrete plant, and beyond, perhaps. I just had to keep descending cautiously, and not rush it.

Once down to the road I set my day pack off, took my bush hat off and combed my scant hair.

Just then a pickup truck appeared, carrying two homeward bound concrete plant workers, and they stopped and gave me a ride back down to the bottom, where the Lycian Way met the coastal highway above Kas, the exact spot I began this outing.

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